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Nashua man ruled incompetent to be tried in mom’s brutal beating

Union Leader Correspondent

July 16. 2013 5:22PM

NASHUA — A judge has deemed a city man incompetent to stand trial for allegedly beating his mother so severely that her ear was severed and she lost vision in her left eye.

Judge Jacalyn Colburn of Hillsborough County Superior Court ruled earlier this month that Thomas V. Foden, 39, of Nashua, is currently incompetent to be tried on three felony charges of second-degree assault and one count of burglary for the Nov. 25, 2012, attack.

However, the court believes that Foden’s competency could be restored within 12 months with a new treatment plan.

Foden, who has a history of mental illness, allegedly invaded Alicia J. Flanders’ Merrimack home and began assaulting her, pushing her into a glass cabinet that severed her left ear and caused her left eye socket to rupture. Court records indicate that the ear, which was found by authorities, could not be reattached.

Dr. Daniel Comiskey, chief forensic examiner for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, previously told the court that Foden had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Foden, according to court documents, “holds very strong negative beliefs about psychiatry and mental health treatment, including the belief that mental illness is used by the government as a means of control or social hygiene, as well as the contention that he does not suffer from any mental illness,” says court records.

Foden’s defense team expressed an initial unwillingness to pursue a mental health defense in light of Foden’s belief that he does not suffer from a mental illness, and that his actions were “justifiable in the face of a perceived threat to his life,” says Colburn’s most recent court ruling.

Comiskey told the court that Foden’s inability to meaningfully consider a mental health defense is a barrier to his competence, and also inhibits his ability to rationally consult with his legal counsel.

While a number of anti-psychotic medications have not been helpful in the past, Comiskey is recommending that a new medication such as Clozaril or Clozapine would help with Foden’s therapy.

Colburn agreed, recommending that Foden be transferred to the New Hampshire Hospital or the secure psychiatric unit at the state prison for new treatment.

A court evaluation to determine whether Foden’s competency has been restored has been scheduled for April 1, 2014.

During Foden’s arraignment last fall, Judge Clifford Kinghorn described photographs of Flanders’ injuries as “some of the most awful pictures I’ve ever seen” and said his heart goes out to Flanders.

Foden has a history of arrests. In 1994 he was convicted of possession of a controlled drug, and in 1997 he was convicted of simple assault and resisting arrest. Foden is listed as unemployed and disabled in court documents.

In an unrelated matter, Flanders, who is a local landlord, previously rented a Manchester apartment to Lynne Melk Brennan. Flanders found Brennan’s body at the 267 River Road apartment in October 2010. Brennan’s death has been ruled homicide, and the case remains unsolved.

Crime, law and justice Nashua

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